On the Day you Were Born

This post is designed not only for you, my faithful readers, but for Cedella to read when she’s old enough and wonders about the day she was born.  I’d like to preface this birth story by saying that while giving birth was not the most comfortable thing I’ve ever been through, it was so damn amazing, though it does get a bit graphic.  The choices Michael and I made to have a natural birth, labor in water and have no drugs or interventions weren’t made lightly, but surprisingly, once we began researching we both totally agreed upon how we wanted to bring our child into this world.  I have never ever experienced something so overwhelming miraculous.  One million trillion things have to go right to have a healthy baby, and fortunately they did when Cedella entered the world.  It’s so hard to believe it was a year ago.   At once it feels like yesterday and a hundred years ago.  It was the day that changed me forever.  It was the day I took on the biggest challenge of my life.  It was the second best day of my life (that whole wedding thing was pretty damn amazing).  It was the day I met the most brilliant and charming little person in the entire world.  It was the day Cedella was born…    

Dear Cedella,

So you are wondering about the day you were born?  Hope you’re ready for a miraculous story.  It all started the Sunday before you were born when you’re super-nesting Mama decided it was absolutely necessary to make an Ikea trip before you came into the world.  I figured it would be great to walk around and get you a bit shaken up.  Three hours of walking later, I was tired but happy, and we had a new couch.  You were moving around like crazy!  Then we went over to Aunt Jenny’s for our annual Christmas gathering with the Moran & Fontichiaro families.  We had such a good time and they made me laugh so hard that I started feeling contractions.  It was like you were saying “Hey!  What’s going on out there?  I wanna come to the party!”

The next couple of days the contractions kept coming.  We went in for an appointment with our midwife, Sarah, on Tuesday the 12th and everything checked out fine.  Your heart beat was perfect and you were moving around like crazy!  I told her all about the contractions I was having, but she thought it was just a case of Braxton-Hicks contractions, or you just testing the waters and preparing to come.  When she checked my cervix I was only dilated to 1cm.  She assured us that we could stay at that dilation for 10 days or more.  But I knew, I was sure you were coming much sooner than later.

The next day Wednesday the 13th we were hanging out over at Kelle and Alex’s house with their kids, Addison, Evan and June.  Kelle & I were going over some last minute details about how I wanted to labor, since she was our doula (labor assistant).  We were just talking and taking it easy but I really started to feel contractions coming on and decided it was time to go home and lay down for a while.  But not before I got a Hammy Sammy.  Just ask your Dad about those.  We LOVE the Hammy Sammy.  By the time we finished eating and I hung up the phone with Teta Hilda I felt like I had to go to the bathroom…like RIGHT NOW!!

I rushed to the bathroom and when I got there it was like a pop and a gush.  I whispered to myself “I think my water just broke” and Dad from the other side of the door said “What did you say?”  He had followed me to make sure I was ok.  He was really sweet like that throughout my pregnancy.  When I confirmed that indeed my water had just broken.  After that life seemed to speed into fast forward.  The contractions came on strong, like really strong, out of nowhere.  You were trying to tell us to get in the car and get our asses to the hospital, but your Mama and Dad are slow.

As I was trying really hard to moan low and guttural through each contraction, I insisted that your Dad shave my legs.  Because there was no way in the world I was going to bring you into this world through a pair of gross hairy legs.  Poor guy.  I don’t think he signed up for that when he agreed to marry me.  But it was fine.  While I got dressed and lay down for a bit, Dad rushed around like a chicken with no head getting things together and packing the car.  By the time your Grandma Linda called to check on us the third time (she was a bit nervous) my contractions were only 5 minutes apart and were getting so intense that your Grandma told your Dad “Don’t tarry.  Get my daughter to the hospital now or you’re going to be having that baby on the side of the road”.  Seriously.  She said “tarry”.  And Daddy tried his hardest to get me in the car.  Once Kelle arrived we got on the road for the longest car ride of my life.

It actually wouldn’t have been that bad, if only my contractions weren’t coming on so strong.  For January it had been a mild and cloudless day.  There was just a trace bit of snow on the ground and no ice, so the roads were rather clear.  But it’s Michigan, and snow or not, the pot holes will kill ya!  The bumps are the road were extremely unforgiving on my pregnant behind.  And the bumps just made you kick and push even more on my womb.  But after a hour and a half or so, at around 8:30pm, we made it to the Alternative Birth Center at Providence Hospital in Southfield.
  
We got checked into the ABC unit and were given the largest of the three birthing suites (sweet!).  After being informed that our friend and midwife Sarah was not on call, we were greeted by the lovely Moira whom we had met at the OB office a couple weeks before.  There was another baby being born as we checked in.  So we were told to get comfortable and relax as much as possible and as soon as that baby was born they would be ready for me.  Like you were going to wait?  Not a chance.  I knew, cause you and my body were telling me, that it wasn’t going to be too long before you were coming into the world.

First things first I bounced on the exercise ball until your Dad finished all the paperwork.  When he returned he and Kelle helped me get into the birthing tub.  Which considering how often contractions were coming was a feat in and of itself.  But once in the tub, life slowed back down and I stayed in there…for hours.  Dad turned on the iPod and we listening to Jill Scott and Erykah Badu while I just floated.  It was the most lightweight and pressure-free I had felt in months.  The tub was nice and deep and stayed hot the entire time I was in it.  Wish we had one of those at home.  Kelle really helped me focus during this time on taking deep yoga breaths and keeping my moaning and vocalizing deep and low.  There wasn’t a single contraction when I felt like I couldn’t take it, or needed relief, it felt like really intense pressure but not harsh pain.  Each contraction I took a deep breath and moaned through it.  Each contraction Kelle or Dad reminded me that I was getting closer to meeting you.  That was all I wanted to do…meet you.  Your Dad was so gentle and keep cheering me on.  He was the perfect coach and I only yelled at him one time (cause he wanted to turn the water on in the tub and the sound was bothering me).  He brushed my hair from my face, he held my hand, and he kept kissing me gently on the forehead.  I have never felt so loved or cared for in all of my life.

And suddenly it was like you woke up and decided you were ready to come out into the world, like now, and I had to push like I’ve never felt the urge to do anything in my life.  This was the hard part honey.  This was the part that hurt like nobody’s business.  The contractions were all getting me closer to you.  Through each one I took deep breaths knowing that you were working your way down.  But now you were ready to come out and I have to wait?!  Whuck?!

Up to this point the midwife and the nurse on call had not so much as popped in to check on me.  Kelle and Dada seemed fairly confident that I was on the right track but that it would be a while before I transitioned.  No one even knew if I was fully dilated and effaced.  A nurse from the L&D unit came in to check your heartbeat.  She was totally freaked out probably by the fact that I was nude and floating in the tub instead of fully gowned and spread eagle on the bed.  After several attempts to make me stand up so that she could use her instrument to find your heart Kelle, snatched the doppler out of her hand, plunged it under the water and found your heart in about ten seconds.  Bravo Kelle!!

When the urge to push hit, at first Kelle was telling me to resist the urge and just keep breathing.  But as it went into almost an hour of me having to push I felt the overwhelming need to go to the bathroom.  Kelle and Dad had a quick conference about what to do.  I was completely oblivious to what was going on because I was meditating and concentrating so hard on not pushing.  They had decided to get me out of water and into the bathroom, just to have me move around and see how far I had actually progressed.  Finally getting to the bathroom, even though I was having a contraction just about every other minute, your Dad saw the telltale sign you were moments away.  He saw your hair. A full head of dark hair!  As soon as they saw your hair a bit of panic crossed their faces and one of them left to go and check on getting a nurse or someone to take a look at me.

Now things moved even more in fast forward again.  Close to midnight we heard the shouts and yells of joy from the room across the hall.  The other baby had finally been born!  And in mere moments the room was full of nurses and attending doctors and Moira.  I had only just made it to the bed to be checked when the nurse, Margaret, said “Oh boy, you’re going to have this baby right now”.  I was fully dilated and just had a lip of cervix that needed to efface.  To get everything going they rushed me back to the bathroom to get you engaged in my pelvis, I almost had you on the toilet, before they rushed me back to the bed.

As I lay on my back I was asking Dada where my Mom was and like a ray of light your Grandma Linda was there.  Auntie Tracey decided to wait out in the hall until all the blood and yuckiness was over.  As Grandma held my hand, Kelle held onto one of my legs and your Dad held onto the other.  Suddenly it was time.  Nine months of waiting and planning and dreaming and wondering what you were going to be like.  And here you were, about to come into the world.  There was such a rush of adrenaline and excitement that it was like being drunk.  Dad or Kelle grabbed my hand so that I could feel your hair and your head just right there.  I had to focus and push.  And focus I did.  After a fierce 15 minutes of pushing through the most excruciating pain I have ever felt, and listening to your Dad tell me what a great job I was doing, your head was finally out.

But then the terror struck for a moment.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck a couple of times.  Moira expertly cut the cord and unwrapped your neck and then after taking a deep breath and crying about how much it hurt I pushed again and your shoulders were out along the rest of your wriggly little body.  And at 12:26 am you were born!  You were immediately placed on my chest and started to cry out for your Mama.  Margaret had me slap you all over to get your blood flowing and to warm you up.  

It was you all along.  I saw your face for the first time and knew that was how I had always imagined you would look like.  Like I had always known your face.  All I could do was cry and kiss you and welcome you to the world.  Your Dad was crying and Auntie T gave us a big kiss.  Grandma had the biggest smile I have ever seen and Kelle was recording the whole thing on the Flip camera.  It was such a beautiful and magical moment.  Absolutely the most amazing few minutes in my entire life.

So I passed your plancenta, in a moment your Auntie T will never forget, and not in a good way.  Then they took you away to check you out and clean the meconium out of your mouth (I’ll teach you about that when you have babies of your own) I sat quietly on the bed all alone.  Everyone was busy doing something else and a wave of emotion and joy washed over me.  I literally said “I just had a fucking baby!”.  That’s right my love, Mama dropped the F-bomb at your birth!  They had you wrapped up in a blanket with a teeny tiny little hat and gave you back to me and with wide open eyes you rooted around my chest and you latched on like a champ.

Even though I had to suffer through over a dozen stitches, you were nursing and staring at me and I was in absolute heaven.  I had never seen anything so beautiful.  Nor did I know that I could love you so much in an instant.  Your smell, your skin, your fuzzy dark hair, everything about you was just perfect.

After everyone finally left the room and everything was quiet, when we just had a chance to be the three of us, Dad and I just marveled over the perfection of your little fingers and toes.  Kissing each and every one of them.  And when we fell asleep together, it felt like the most peaceful two hours of sleep ever.  Cause even in the ABC they wake you every couple of hours to check your temp and everything and check Mama’s vitals too.  One time Dad had you snuggled so close to him that your temp was over 100 degrees.            

We had a whirlwind day of visitors that first day, along with your first pictures, plenty of shots and blood being drawn.    Your Grandma Linda, Auntie T and Auntie Kylara came.  Your Aunties Erin, Kristyn and Natalie visited.  Your Great Grandma Rose and Great Grandpa Verlin and Grammy Pam all came to see you.  Mama & Dad’s friends Steve, Tim and Amie were there.  Grandma Becky, Jiddo and Teta all came from Lansing to see you.  Even your Uncle Rob made a visit.  And at the end of the day, as we fell asleep with you again, we dreamed of all of the adventures and memories to come.

The next morning we woke up, you had your hearing checked and we prepared to take you home.  After you were all dressed and snuggled up in your little monkey snowsuit, it was time.  Dad pushed us in a wheelchair to the elevator and out to the car.  On the way we met a man, who’s baby had died in delivery.  It was so devastating to hear someone have something so terrible happen to them when we were celebrating such a miracle.  The man shook Dad’s hand and smiled from ear to ear.  He looked at the three of us and saw such beauty and perfection he said.  Your sweet little face already had the ability to make strangers melt.

And after a two hour drive, we brought you into our home for the first time.  We sat on the couch, along with Kira and snuggled up.  I remember how incredibly quiet it was.  Like peace had settled over our world.  Granted the peace and quiet was short lived, but that feeling of being complete and alive and full of love remains to this day.

So as you sleep tonight and dream sweet little girl dreams I want to tell you a few things that I hope you will always know in your heart and mind.  It is such an incredible honor to be your mother.  I have never nor will ever do anything or be anything more important than being your mother.  You are such a charming, vibrant, happy and brilliant girl.  From the moment I first held you and you looked into my eyes, I knew what a special little girl you were going to be.  I thank you for the chance to learn from you and to grow and become a better person as I see the world through your eyes.  Please know that you are the most amazing thing I have ever created and I can’t wait to see all your capable of, all you will accomplish, all you will be.  Cedella Michelle…my First Ray of Light.

I love you to the moon and back,
Mama

 Your first photo shoot
 Contemplating your new world
 Talking to Auntie Kylara for the first time
 Meeting Aunt Erin for the first time
 Baby LoJack
 Snuggled in your monkey snowsuit
 At home for the first day
 Snuggled with Dad and Kira
 Little peanut snuggling with Dad
    Our first family portrait


Comments

  1. Leslie says:

    Well, good grief! Now you've got me crying over here. Beautiful post! I hope that you all have a wonderful day – Happy Birthday, Cedella! And congratulations on surviving your first year as a mama!

  2. Teresha@Marlie and Me says:

    …The angels got together
    And decided to create a dream come true
    So they sprinkled moon-dust
    In your hair
    And starlight in your eyes

    What a beautiful letter! The waterworks are on over here. Happy Birthday Cedella and Happy Mother's Day to you Alexia!

  3. Diana @Hormonal Imbalances says:

    Aw. This was really sweet.

    I am still laughing that you made your husband shave your legs. :) Awesome.

    Happy Birthday Cedella!!

  4. musicfrombigpink says:

    What an amazing account of an amazing day! I was thrilled beyond belief to be a part of it. And look at the result. I don't have to tell you how amazing Auntie TT thinks her niece is. You, however, astound me every day. You're incredible. Just incredible.

  5. Christine says:

    I hadn't cried today, so I read this and it did the trick! What a wonderful idea to pass onto your daughter!

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